Sunday, August 26, 2012

Uncle Sam -- Creating Jobs

My brother said something, years ago, that stuck with me: If you want a problem solved -- instead of studied -- give it to the military. That thought ran through my head as I listened to a story on Talk of the Nation -- Science Friday. You'll have to listen (sorry, no transcript) but, trust me, it's well worth it.

Believe it or not, the story is about green energy. There's a competition between military base commanders to become the first "net zero energy base". You can listen to the details about how it started but it started at Ft. Bliss, TX. That's a base of 8,500 people. And it wants to be capable of operating "off the grid". Interesting. Give it a listen. (Click on the "Listen Now" button.)

All this remind me of a blog I read from Robert Reich a couple of years ago.

America’s Biggest Jobs Program — the U.S. Military

"Yet what’s really sacrosanct is the giant jobs program that’s justified by national security. National security is a cover for job security.

This is nuts.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a jobs program that created things we really need — like light-rail trains, better school facilities, public parks, water and sewer systems, and non-carbon energy sources — than things we don’t, like obsolete weapons systems?"

Oh well, at least somebody is creating "non-carbon energy sources". My point, much like the film maker's being interviewed on Science Friday, is that once you look past the labels -- tree hugger/climate-change denier -- we're really all after the same thing. It seems kind of crazy to route it through the military but okay. After all, the Interstate Highway System is actually the "National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". Whatever.

Don Brown
August 26, 2012

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